28 Feb 2023
 | 28 Feb 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Lessons learnt from rockfall time series analysis: data collection, statistical analysis and applications

Sandra Melzner, Marco Conedera, Johannes Hübl, and Mauro Rossi

Abstract. Historical rockfall catalogues are important data sources for the investigation of the temporal occurrence of rockfalls, which is a crucial information for rockfall hazard and risk assessments. However, such catalogues are rare and often incomplete. Here, we analyse seven catalogues of historical rockfalls in Austria, Italy, and the USA to highlight existing relationships between the data collection and mapping methods and the representativeness of the resulting rockfall records. Heuristic and simple statistically-based frequency analysis methods are applied to describe and compare the different historical rockfall catalogues. Our results show that different mapping strategies may affect the frequency of the assessed rockfall occurrence and the completeness/representativeness of the related time series of historical rockfalls. We conclude presenting the advantages and limitations of the application of different frequency-based methods for analysing rockfall catalogues and providing recommendations for rockfall mapping. We furthermore present non-parametric statistical methods for dealing with typically small rockfall datasets which are particularly suited for the characterization of basic rockfall catalogues. Such recommendations should help for the definition of standards for collecting and using temporal rockfall data in hazard and risk assessments.

Sandra Melzner et al.

Status: open (until 11 Apr 2023)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2023-10', Daniel Costantini, 23 Mar 2023 reply

Sandra Melzner et al.

Sandra Melzner et al.


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Short summary
The estimation of the temporal frequency of the involved rockfall processes is an important part in hazard and risk assessments. Different methods can be used to collect and analyse rockfall data. From a statistical point of view, rockfall datasets are nearly always incomplete. Accurate data collection approaches and the application of statistical methods on existing rockfall data series as reported in this study should be better considered in rockfall hazard and risk assessments in the future.